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Be safe out on the lake

Julie Brown
A boat zips along the South Shore. / Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune file
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Authorities are reminding boaters at Lake Tahoe to abide by boating regulations to avoid turning a summer paradise into a danger zone.

Regulations specific to Lake Tahoe include a 600-foot no-wake zone bordering the shoreline that provides a safe area for kayakers and swimmers.

Boaters should watch for white buoys with a black diamond and orange writing that stipulates “danger shoreward.” The 28 regulatory buoys warn boats of rocks near shore and other areas to avoid.

And any boat with a two-stroke engine but no fuel injection is prohibited on Lake Tahoe because of the trail of oily residue the engines discharge into the water.

Each boat must be equipped with a life jacket of the appropriate size for every person on board.

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Children 12 and younger are required to wear a life jacket while boating.

The rules for boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol mirror the laws for driving a car under the influence, that is, the over-21 driver’s blood-alcohol content may not exceed the .08 limit.

Schmidt warned that alcohol’s effect when consumed on boats is greater and quicker than on land due to the effect of sun, wind and motion on the water.

Boaters are urged to designate a sober captain.

Schmidt also suggested designating a lookout and to be considerate of other boaters at boat ramps and in the water.

Navigation lights must function at all times, even if they will not be used.

The same goes for kayakers during the evening, who must carry a white light to prevent collisions.

For novice Lake Tahoe boaters, expect more wind in the afternoons.

“You can expect that in the afternoon, the waves are going to be much rougher than in the morning,” Schmidt said.

He also recommended a Lake Tahoe boating map created by the Coast Guard that is geared toward boat renters and people who aren’t familiar with the lake. Available at boat rental locations and marina facilities, the map will help those who need to radio for Coast Guard assistance.

“The Coast Guard and special assistance people have a real problem with locating people who don’t know where they are,” Schmidt said.

Be boat safe

For more information on California and Nevada state boating regulations, please visit their Web sites. For California, visit http://www.dbw.ca.gov. For Nevada, visit http://www.ndow.org.


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